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MP reveals allegations of AFL drug cover up

Federal MP Andrew Wilkie has revealed a doctor's allegations of secret illicit drug tests in the AFL

Federal MP Andrew Wilkie has revealed a doctor's allegations of secret illicit drug tests in the AFL Photo: AAP

A whistleblowing doctor has revealed allegations of secret illicit drug tests conducted to enable AFL players to avoid detection on game days, federal MP Andrew Wilkie says.

Mr Wilkie told parliament of the allegations from a former Melbourne Demons club doctor and football club president.

He described the allegations as credible, detailed and provided in signed statements given to him clearly identifying the sources of the documents.

“I rise to bring the house’s attention deeply troubling allegations of egregious misconduct within the AFL provided by former Melbourne football club president Glen Bartlett, former Melbourne football club doctor Zeeshan Arain and Shaun Smith, father of Melbourne player and now alleged drug trafficker Joel Smith,” he told parliament on Tuesday night.

“The allegations include the prevalence of drug abuse and other prohibited behaviour across the AFL, off the books drug-testing of players at Dorevitch Pathology in Heidelberg, facilitated by the former chief medical officer of the AFL Peter Harcourt, the resting of players testing positive in these secret tests, ostensibly on account of injury, wilful inaction by AFL chairman Richard Goyder, and former CEO Gill McLachlan and the removal of Mr Bartlett as president of Melbourne after he suggested to Mr Goyder and Mr McLachlan that AFL officials be regularly drug tested.”

Mr Wilkie said Dr Arain had said the AFL wanted players to compete at all costs.

“If there are no illegal drugs in the player’s system they are free to play, and if there are drugs in their system the player is often asked to fake an ­injury,” Mr Wilkie said.

“They are advised to lie about a condition, while the ­results of the off-the-book tests are kept secret and are never shared with Sports Integrity Australia or WADA (World Anti Doping Agency).

“In other words, hundreds of thousands of Australians will watch the game not knowing that the game has been secretly manipulated by the AFL and thousands of Australians will bet on that game not knowing the game has been secretly ­manipulated by the AFL.”

Mr Wilkie said Dr Arain alleged it wasn’t a Melbourne problem but an “AFL problem” with a number of players arriving in the city from other states with pre-existing cocaine dependencies.

“The documents in my possession also indicate a shocking unwillingness of senior AFL ­executives to address drug abuse by players and executives, particularly in relation to cocaine use.

“For instance here are very detailed notes of a telephone meeting between Gill McLachlan, Richard Goyder and Glen Bartlett.”

AAP has contacted the AFL and Melbourne Football Club for comment.

—AAP

Topics: AFL, drugs
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